Luke's Mummy

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What's In A Name?

Its funny how you act when a member of the cloth is due in your house, when Richard and I were waiting for Marion the other day I reminded myself of my lovely Nanna and how she would act when the doctor was due to call, I had polished our living room within an inch of itself, the cats had been banished to the yard (for fear of them letting off their deadly pooh gasses) and I had even changed the loo roll in the bathroom. Why do we feel the need to do that? I mean, she didn't visit the loo once while she was here, and I'm sure she would have been just as happy to use the half full roll (unless she of course, had a unmentionable problem). I decrumbed the kitchen floor and changed my tea towels (only clean that morning). Bizarre behaviour.

She was actually really interesting to talk to, and bearing in mind how we felt about the situation with my friend Nikki's child and her wanting a christening pretty sharpish due to her teminally ill father, we did end up seeing her point of view (sort of).

It transpired that Marion isn't really that concerned about attendance at church every single week, what she is more interested in is that the parents of the child truly do believe in God when they say their Vows at the Christening, after all, we are saying them on behalf of Luke and promising to bring him up in the way of God. So, we had a good old chat and told her how we felt about it all and decided that we would go ahead with the preparation for Luke's Christening. This involves Marion coming to our house once a week for about three weeks and chatting to us and doing some Gospel reading homework. So, we kind of feel a bit happier about it at the moment. Just thought I'd fill you in on that.

What I really wanted to talk about was the fact that since I've been going out and about with Lukey (for the past three years) something has really bugged/amused me about myself and other parents, see what you think...

Luke and I were at Play Barn (lovely soft play area in Frodsham). We noticed a blonde lady smiling at us from up on top of the playscape, we both waved and smiled back and then Luke piped up "It's Lewis's mummy". Off he bounded and started to chat with her and I duly followed. She is a lovely lady, really cool to talk to and so funny. She lives in Runcorn, is 28 years old, full time mum, husband a firefighter based in Chester, she comes to Play Barn once a week and hates watching too much kids tv. What, I hear you cry, has all that got to do with the price of fish? The point I'm making is that I only know her as "Lewis's mummy". I haven't got a clue what her christian name is. I know all that other stuff but no idea what her name is.

I could tell you the same kind of stuff about 10 other mums and quite a few dads too. It isn't a case of me losing the ability to have conversations, I have made lots of acquaintances out and about around Runcorn/Widnes/Frodsham but we never ever swap names. Oh yes, we enquire about their offspring, "how old is he/she" "how did you find the MMR jab?" "is he/she out of nappies?" "Does he eat out of the cat bowls as well, or is that just Luke?" but we never ever ask what each other's names are. It is soooooo bizarre.

It doesn't help matters when you go to Tumble Tots or Gym Babies, the kid gets to wear a badge with his/her name on but the parents fly solo, therefore you are forced to refer to people as "Lukes Mummy" or "Sarah's Daddy".

It's getting to the stage now though that I am sort of psyching myself up to ask the question, from the minute I spot a lone parent trying to look enthusiastic at 9.30am when their toddler is wanting to be pushed on the swings, I recite in my head "and what is your name" (Naah too crappy) "sorry, my name is Paula ... you are?" (Naaah too apologetic) and so on.

I really think that this problem should be addressed at anti natal classes along with the breathing techniques. "Be prepared to only be known in future as (insert childs name here) Mummy".

Or, is it different outside of Runcorn? Oooooh do tell.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

When is a Christian not a Christian?......

Ok, apparantly the answer is when they don't go to church every Sunday. I've been sort of putting off posting this as I know that religion can be a pretty sticky subject to talk about. I was going to post something really witty about Luke and how when he met his pre-school teacher for the first time the other day he said "I know a really bad word but I'm not going to say it" (it rhymes with rollocks btw - don't know where he got it from but I'm blaming my mum). This was after I threatened him with confiscating his favourite little red fire engine that Uncle Eric and Aunt Bev gave him if he dared to say it, so he was pretty adamant he wasn't going to say it, but I must admit he did go on about it a tad too much to his new teacher.

So, here we have it (serious head on). I've started to go church (well for the past two Sunday's), it's something I have never really done on a regular basis as an adult. Both Bill (my brother) and I went to the local church school (Parish) and consequently we were always in Church every other week (the next door Parish Church, you know Jenn, I used to like defacing the grave stones). Mum and dad brought us up as Christian's, there is no doubt about that whatsoever, we were aware of The Ten Commandments, and were taught to treat our neighbours as we would like to be treated ourselves (obviously this went out of the window when they wouldn't give us our ball back at which point door bells were rung and we scarpered to hide round the corner of the dentists and laugh).

Luke has been enrolled in the Parish school for his pre-school and also his infant school next September. I decided that as he will be going to the church on a regular basis I should really take a more active role so that he will be familiar with the vicar and know what is involved in the service on a Sunday. Also, he hasn't been christened yet!! I know, it sounds dreadful but it was something we decided to do when he was a bit older and more aware of it ( now I'm dreading it as I just know he will probably say something completely inappropriate at a very sensitive time (see first paragraph).

So off I trotted to church (mum looked after Luke). Richard tends to work most Sunday's so I was flying solo. Got to admit I was a little bit taken aback. I always remember Parish church as being very regal with a really impressive choir. Not anymore my friend. The back pews have been ripped out to be replaced with comfy setees and coffe tables, there is a fully fitted kitchen and bathroom and the choir is no more. The vicar is called John and his wife has just been ordained so they sort of do a double handed service (bit like Richard & Judy Aunty Norma). The collection plate has been replaced with a request for payments to be made preferably by Standing Order directly from your bank but if you wish to give money on the day then please use an envelope (that way you can pay more and your "neighbour" won't know. Okkkaaaay!!!

Got to say the service was pretty good, the hymns were quite funky too. I enjoyed that bit, although I still can't pray on demand, really struggle with that and always have, I start to wander off and think about what chores I need to do at home and whether I left the cat flap open etc, bit like being asked to pee on demand I always sieze up and feel apologetic afterwards. Although, I do find it easy to say a prayer when I need to (and not just when I'm caught speeding), truly, like at dad's funeral and when we laid his ashes at the cemetary. Heck, I even prayed the other day when I trod on a snail by accident.

Afterwards John (the vicar) and his wife Marion stopped me and asked me my name, commenting how they hadn't seen me before. We had a lovely chat, I explained about Luke and asked about a christening. My friend Nikki was also at church that day with her mum (devout church goer), she also asked about a christening for her baby boy. I must admit I was a little shocked by Marion's reaction. We were told that Phil (Nikki's husband) had to start going to church every week, that there was no point in having our children christened if we didn't mean what we said at the service as otherwise it is just us having a "nice dress and party afterwards". And so she went on and on and on ..... .

Nikki had her come around to the house yesterday evening to discuss the possibility of her baby being christened. Now, Nikki was married at the church and her eldest child was christened there also (by John), her mum and dad go to church every week and the family are well know by them. But still, Nikki spent about two hours having Marion chastise her and her hubby for not being regular church goers and suggested that maybe a Thanksgiving Service be the way forward and then maybe talk about a proper christening at a later date. Nikki reminded her that her dad was terminally ill with cancer and that her husband's mum was also terminally ill with cancer and that she would like them to be there for the christening so really, time is of the essence. "I'm sure your dad would be just as happy to watch from heaven" was the reply. Not really a great comfort is it. She said that it would be ridiculous to have their child christened and then for Phil not to attend church after the event as it would make a mockery of the whole thing. Richard commented to me that it is the child that is being christened and not Phil, baptism is a sacrement that washes away original sin not contracts you through guilt to attend a building on a weekly basis. Although perhaps, that won't help with the collections!

She is coming over to our house in a couple of days time for a similar discussion about Luke being christened and I'm getting a bit concerned about what she is going to say. Dad always felt that it is how you live your life for the majority of the time that matters, anyone can go to church for an hour or so every week and then they could be complete swines for the rest of the time. Richard and I both feel that way. I don't think that God would want people coming to church under duress, he would surely prefer people to live their lives as Christians and maybe attend church as they feel they need to.

By the way for the record, all quotes are as actually said.

Apologies for the serious tone of this posting - normal service will be resumed shortly.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This Time Next Week ....

This time next week I'll probably be saying "oh no, only another a week or so before I start my new job ... eeeeeek" or something of that ilk. Yes, after being at home either pregnant or looking after the result of the aforementioned pregnacy I am finally hanging up my marigolds and returning to the workplace (well for 2 days a week anyway).

After much pressure from the sadly dwindling bank balance and immense pressure on my brain from too much Fireman Sam/Bob the Builder/Lazytown, I decided to take a little look at the job market to see what it had to offer me and more importantly what I had to offer it. I rejected outright the more obvious jobs displayed in the Runcorn Weekly News on the grounds that I really didn't qualify as a "busty babe" (telephone chat lines are quite popular apparantly in this region), well I suppose I am busty but "babe" naaaah and opted for the far more heady heights of Payroll Administrator. Anyhoo, I actually got an interview (hurrah!), I discovered this whilst scorching my scalp with my hair straighteners. The phone rang in the bedroom at 9.30 am and thinking that it would be my gorgeous mother checking up on me (we have both been a tad clingy since dad passed away) I let Luke answer it.

Luke "Hello, who is it?"
Me "Say hello to nanny darling, go on"
Luke "I just did, Helllooooooo, what????? oh, not nanny, right"
Me (now getting a bit stressed as I am trying to unravel both myself and hair from now meltingly hot straighteners) "Luke pass me the phone"
Luke "No, it's not nanny, I think it's Stephanie" (from Lazytown)
Me "Let mummy have the phone please darling"
Luke "Oh go on then, they're getting a bit boring now anyway"
Me "Hello"
My Future Boss "Hello it's Jane Mansfield would you like an interview"
Me "Yes Please" (now completely mortified and wanting to pass out with heat exhaustion and sheer embarassment)

So, I then had to decide on what to wear for said interview as the last three and a half years have been spent in clothes consisting of inexplainable stains and comfortable shoes. But, good excuse to go shopping for girl clothes. Off I trotted and I must say that shopping for clothes with a toddler makes you very quick and decisive as you have approximately 30 minutes before the boredom sets in. I managed to find a cubicle big enough for me and Luke (plus the results of my trolley dash around the aisles of Asda). I tried on a few combinations of skirts/tops/jackets and Luke seemed very impressed (if not confused by mummys new image). I decided on what to buy just in time for me to turn around to see that Luke had unslid the latch on the cubicle and I was now in full view of Asda's clothing check out with my head stuck inside my t-shirt and old knickers and bra on display. Nice!!! Shriek!!!

I have to admit here that I haven't actually worn heels and tights since I last worked (not the combination together anyway). I got through two pairs before leaving the house after attempting to put them on like jeans (not a very safe thing to do, you tend to catapult yourself across the room) which is why when I turned up for the interview (on a very hot day two weeks ago) I must have resembled a cat on very slippery kitchen tiles. Dignified was not the look I achieved folks. I emerged from my boiling hot car, tights instantly gluing themselves to my legs, I skittered across the (very busy) car park and into a very slippery reception area (marble floor). I attracted some very bemused looks.

The interview went suprisingly well, I managed to muster some very articulate answers to some very (lets face it folks it's only 15 hours a week) full on questions. I guess though, I thought I had blown it when we were shaking hands at the end of the interview and after my future boss commenting on the very hot weather I replied with "yes, the last thing you need in weather like this is a reinforced gusset (doh!!!).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Well You Asked For It!!

Ok, so I'm bowing to the pressure of my lovely Cousin's and creating a Blog so that you can read and learn about life in sunny Runcorn (well it was 32 a couple of days ago).

So, just in case people do actually read this who I'm not related to I'll tell you a little about myself. I'm 39 (eeeekkk, surely not), have a little boy called Luke (hence the blog title) and am married to the lovely Richard. I chose to jack in work when I became pregnant with Lukey Sam so that I could balloon to gigantic proportions in the safety of my own home, also as I was working in close contact with the general public of Runcorn I didn't want to become the subject of great mirth whilst out shopping in my lunch hour (people presumed that as I was childless at the age of 35 I was either (a) a closet lesbian or (b) a childhater).

Anyway, I've spent the last few years bringing Luke up to the very best of my ability and I think I've done a pretty good job. Oh yes, we've had our ups and downs and both done an awful lot of shouting at each other, I reckon that he has just about grasped the fact now that he's turned three that I actually am in charge although sometimes I do have to remind myself of the fact.

For instance, we spent the last week potty training (something, I have to admit, having read my cousin's blogs on the subject I have been dreading). So, I decided this is it, no going back, no nappies during the day AT ALL!!! First day, he actually was doing pretty well and I was very impressed with him so I thought right let's leave the safety of the house and (Dum Dum Duuuuum) go to the park. Off we trotted (well drove) potty in the boot of the car. We got to the park and I started with the "Luke, do you need a wee?" "Luke you do know to ask me if you need to wee?" He turned to me with what I can only call a withering look and said "mummy please stop it, you are driving me mad." So, I said "ok, as long as you don't need a wee". He was so caught up with chatting to a very pretty little girl of about the same age (who was out of nappies by 2 years apparantly) that he wee wee'd all down his legs. Of course, he tried to pretend it wasn't happening but she was not at all impressed with him and stalked off in a very obvious huff leaving my little Mr Know It All mortified. We went home.

So, I shall now retire to do my dishes and leave you to gasp in amazement at the fact that I now have a Blog, you never know, I may even include some photos soon.